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Victim's Rights | Print |

Victim- Witness Assistance Program

(404) 612-6883  

The Office of the Fulton County Solicitor General is dedicated to assisting victims through the criminal justice process and making sure that criminals are held accountable for their actions.   Misdemeanor crimes, especially cases of family violence, should be treated seriously.   Our attorneys, legal assistants, investigators, victims’ advocates, and administrators handle thousands of misdemeanor cases.   It is our goal to do so fairly, efficiently and professionally.

The Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office has a Victim Assistance Program to ensure that your rights as a victim of crime are protected.   Victim Advocates are available to answer your questions, offer support, and provide information about the court process.  

VICTIM-WITNESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IS HERE TO:

  • Provide information about your rights as a victim of crime
  • Accompany you to court hearings and provide emotional support during the court process
  • Provide referrals to social service agencies in the community
  • Assist you in applying for Crime Victims Compensation and Restitution
  • Assist you in filing Family Violence and Stalking Temporary Protective Orders
  • Document injuries by taking photographs
  • Assist you in developing a safety plan
  • Loan 911 cellular phones
  • Provide a comfortable area for victims and their family during court appearances
  • Provide individual counseling sessions for victims of crime, especially crimes involving family violence and vehicular homicide
  • Provide community speakers on domestic violence, stalking, and victimization.  

THE VICTIM OF A CRIME HAS THE RIGHT TO:

  • Make a written request to be notified of scheduled court proceedings.
  • Designate a spouse, adult child, sibling, parent or grandparent to assume his/her rights if the victim is not physically able to do so.
  • Request that any information regarding his/her address, place of employment and telephone number be kept confidential.
  • Ask to wait in an area separate from the accused.
  • Be given an opportunity to voice his/her opinion regarding plea or sentence recommendation and referral to diversion programs.

Protective Orders        

A Temporary Protective Order (“TPO”) is a civil order that may be issued when family violence or stalking has occurred.   It can:

 • Prohibit the abuser from doing certain things (like contacting you, coming within 200 yards of you, going to your home or workplace).

 • Require the abuser to do certain things that are needed to keep you and your children safe (like moving out of the shared residence, paying temporary support, or providing an alternative place for you and your children).

 • Award temporary child custody and visitation.

 • Require the abuser to reimburse you for any expenses you have had related to the abuse (like medical bills, lost wages, damage to your property).

 • Require the abuser to attend domestic violence counseling, get substance abuse treatment, and/or psychiatric treatment.

IS A TPO THE SAME AS A BOND CONDITION?

 • No.   A bond condition is a criminal order that is issued after the abuser has been arrested and granted bond.   It requires the abuser to do certain things as a condition of being released from jail.   It is not as broad as a TPO and lasts only as long as the criminal case is pending.

 • You can have a bond condition and a TPO in place at the same time.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO FILE FOR A TPO?

 • A valid driver’s license or I.D.

 • The address where the abuser can be served with a copy of the legal papers.

 • There is no cost for filing.

WHERE SHOULD YOU FILE?

 • If the abuser is a Georgia resident, you must apply in the Superior Court of the county where the abuser resides.

 • If the abuser lives in a different state, you may apply in the Superior Court of the county where you reside or where the incident took place.

 • If you are filing in Fulton County, you can go to the One Stop office, located on the 8th Floor of the Fulton County Courthouse located at 136 Pryor Street, S.W. Atlanta, GA 30303 between the hours of 8:30 and 5:00pm Monday through Friday.

 • When the abuser is an intimate partner or when there is a parent-child relationship with the other party, One Stop will provide a referral to the Safe Families Office in Courtroom 2P for legal and safety planning assistance as well as referrals to other community agencies.   The Safe Families Office is a collaboration among Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF), Partnership Against Domestic Violence (PADV), and the Fulton County Superior Court. They take walk-in clients until 2:00pm Monday-Friday.

WHO CAN FILE FOR A TPO?

 • You must be 18 years old.

 • If you are a minor, any adult may apply on your behalf.

 • You must be a victim of family violence or stalking.

WHAT MUST YOU SHOW TO FILE A FAMILY VIOLENCE TPO?

 • An act of family violence, which includes: any felony, battery, simple battery, assault, stalking, criminal trespass, or unlawful restraint.

 • That you and your abuser have any of the following special relationships to each other:   current or former spouses, people who currently or formerly lived together, people who have a child together, or a parent-child relationship (including stepparents and stepchildren and foster parents and foster children).

 WHAT MUST YOU SHOW TO FILE A STALKING TPO?

 • A pattern of stalking behavior.

 • You do not have to show a special relationship to the other party.

WHAT IS THE TPO PROCESS?

 • You will complete paperwork which explains why you need a TPO.   The abuser must be served with a copy of this paperwork.

 • You will then see a judge who will consider giving you an emergency TPO.   This is called an ex parte TPO, and it only lasts up to 30 days.

 • If the judge grants the ex parte TPO, you will be given a date to return to court for a more detailed hearing.   The abuser has a right to attend and present their side.   At this second hearing, you must show that the ex parte TPO should be extended.   It is important to bring all evidence and witnesses to the second hearing.

 • If you are filing in Fulton County, ex parte hearings occur every day at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00.   You must arrive at least 1 hour in advance to do the paperwork.   Second hearings are held on Mondays and Fridays at 9:30am in Courtroom 8G of the Fulton County Courthouse. There is NO FEE for filing a Protective Order. The process will take approximately three to four (3) to (4) hours from beginning to end.

Below is a brief outline of the filing steps:

1. You must arrive at least 1 -2 hours prior to the scheduled Ex Parte hearing to have adequate time to complete your forms. Ex Parte Hearings are held daily at 11 :00 a.m. 1 :00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. (Be here at 9:30 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; or 1:30 p.m.)

2. Once your paperwork is complete, you will proceed to an Ex Parte Hearing where the Judge will hear your case and issue a ruling on your petition.

3. If the Judge grants your TPO Petition at the Ex Parte Hearing, you will petition an order will be E-Filed and you receive two (2) certified copies; One (1) copy along with service paperwork and One (1) certified copy that you have to keep with you at all times.

4. You will need to take a copy along with your service paperwork to the Sheriff's Office to arrange for the Respondent (opposing party) to be served. The Sheriff's Office is located on the 9th Floor of the Justice Center Tower (JCT) - Suite T-9000.

 HOW LONG DOES A TPO LAST?

 • An ex parte TPO last for 30 days or until a hearing is held.

 • At the second hearing, the court may extend the ex parte TPO up to an additional   12 months.

 DO YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY?

 • You are not required to have an attorney, but one may be helpful, particularly if there are children involved.

Who may file for a Temporary Protective Order in Fulton County?

• Anyone who is seeking a protective order against another person who lives in Fulton County.

There are no fees associated with filing this type of petition.

• If the respondent is not a Georgia resident, then the petitioner may file his or her action in the county of their own residence or in the county where the abuse took place. Note: if this is the case, even though there are no fees to file a Petition for a Protective Order in Fulton County, there may be costs associated with getting an out-of-state respondent served with notice of the action in his or her home state.

What kinds of TPO’S are available?

• Domestic violence protective (not restraining) orders are civil actions.

• There are two kinds:

                               1. FAMILY VIOLENCE TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDERS

                              2. STALKING TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDERS

What must be happening to qualify for a temporary protective order?

• FAMILY VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDER: the person you are filing against must be: a past or present spouse, a co-parent of the same child or children with you, a stepparent and child, a foster parent and child or persons who either live together or used to live together. (This includes roommates but you may not file this type of petition if all you are seeking to do is evict someone from your home.)

• STALKING PROTECTIVE ORDER: the person you are filing against must be repeatedly following you, placing you under surveillance, or contacting you by phone, email, text or any by other means repeatedly without your permission and such contact must be for the purpose of harassing or intimidating you.

What you must have:

• A valid piece of picture ID because you're Petition must be notarized. You must be over the age of 18 to file. If you seek protection for a child, you may do so "on behalf of" that minor child. You must also have a valid address for the respondent; if the sheriff cannot serve the respondent with legal notice of the action then it cannot go forward.

**NOTE: It is important to note that the Respondent MUST be served before the date of the 12-Month Hearing. KEEP A COPY OF THE TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDER (TPO) WITH YOU AT All TIMES.

Helpful Numbers:

Fulton County One Stop (404) 613-4579

Fulton County Safe Families Office (404) 612-4316

Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (404) 521-0790

Fulton County Solicitor General’s Office Victim Assistance (404) 612-6883

Partnership Against Domestic Violence (404) 873-1766

Refugee Family Violence Prevention Project  (404) 299-2243

Fulton County Superior Court Clerk (404)-612-2196

Fulton County Sheriff's Office Service Line (404)-612-5129

Contact Us

The Office of the Solicitor General is located on the 3rd floor of 160 Pryor Street in downtown Atlanta in the Carnes Building.   Our mailing address is:

Office of the Solicitor General

160 Pryor Street, SW

Suite J-301

Atlanta, GA 30303

(404) 612-4800

 
 

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